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A 47-year-old male asked:

87 yr old male, thoracentesis was done taking 300 ml fluid out. post thoracentesis chest tube drainage was also done. hospital ok to discharge but chest x-ray still showing nominal left pleural effusion and small epical pneumothorax. is it ok?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Donald Colantino
Internal Medicine 62 years experience
As long as the small left pleural effusion is not caused by an active process like pneumonia, congestive heart failure or malignancy of the lung or pleural lining, it should resolve in time. A small apical pneumothorax should also expand in time. If he's ambulating safely without significant shortness of breath & vital signs are stable, home care seems reasonable at this time. Otherwise rehab
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Dr. Donald Alves
Emergency Medicine 25 years experience
Yes. Every tube has risks, which multiply the longer they are in. It is unlikely to remove "all" air or fluid, since removal of the tube may let a bti of air in. The nature of the fluid influences if leaving a little behind is concerning--pus prefer not, but congestive, post-traumatic, or malignant as other examples--the body can address once the bulk is drained. Encourage breathing exercises.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Nov 20, 2021
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